The New York Rangers have recalled forward Chris Mueller from the Hartford Wolf Pack, returning forwards Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller in the process. Miller and Fast have been healthy scratches for the past two games, so getting them playing time in the AHL is a good idea. Mueller had a strong camp, and Alain Vigneault probably figures he can get more out of him than he can Fast/Miller at this point of the season.
Personally, I think Fast was just fine in his two games, but clearly the coach wants him to work on some things. As for Miller, well I still think he’s best suited for the wing. Maybe he gets time there with the Pack.
Since Mueller is a center, this could mean the end of the Martin St. Louis at center experiment, especially since Kevin Hayes has looked quite comfortable there.
Despite earlier reports that Tanner Glass may be out with a back injury, he will be in the lineup tonight against the shorthanded Columbus Blue Jackets. Jesper Fast, who blocked a shot awkwardly on Thursday, is also in the lineup. Both of these reports are per Andrew Gross. Cam Talbot gets the start.
Also, Matt Lombardi cleared unconditional waivers, and the Rangers will terminate his contract. This will give the Rangers much needed flexibility in the trade market.
The Rangers have placed center Matt Lombardi on unconditional waivers, with the intent on terminating his contract, per Renaud Lavoie. Sounds like Lombardi didn’t want to play in the AHL, and will likely go back to Switzerland. Lombardi was given a two-year deal by the Rangers as insurance for the 3C position, but was beaten out by J.T. Miller.
Lombardi and Steven Kampfer are in the running for shortest Ranger careers ever.
It comes with no surprise that the Rangers have recalled defenseman Mike Kostka from the Hartford Wolf Pack. With Dan Boyle out, the Rangers were short one right-handed defenseman, and Kosta was the only logical choice to fill in at the moment (Dylan McIlrath needs top minutes in the AHL).
Matt Hunwick is a left-handed shot, which is why he probably won’t get the look right away.
With the Rangers in need of dropping one more forward to get to the 23 man roster (deadline was 5pm today), the Rangers assigned forward Chris Mueller to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Mueller was waived yesterday and cleared today, but was not immediately assigned to the AHL.
This likely means that Kevin Hayes will not head to the IR, as had been speculated.
The Rangers have traded defenseman Steve Kampfer and forward Andrew Yogan to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Joey Crabb,. The Rangers needed to clear one contract to ensure Anthony Duclair could make the club, and they did just that with this minor trade. Kampfer was going to be in the AHL all year, and Yogan has bounced between the ECHL and AHL since turning pro.
Crabb has 179 games (20-33-53) of NHL experience, but for the most part is a career AHL guy. Interesting fact: Crabb was a 7th round draft pick by the Rangers in 2002.
Per Renaud Lavoie, the Rangers have waived center Matt Lombardi and defensemen Steve Kampfer and Mike Kostka. As a formality, they have also placed goalie Cedrick Desjardins on waivers, but that was expected. He wasn’t on waivers during the last round of cuts because he was injured, and injured players cannot be waived.
This means that Matt Hunwick has likely won the 7D spot (assuming Dylan McIlrath is sent to Hartford for big minutes). This also means that Lombardi’s injury likely cost him a legitimate shot at cracking this roster. I assume he will be a short term injury call up if need be.
The Rangers announced nine cuts today, including forwards Danny Kristo and Ryan Bourque:
Forwards: Chris Bourque, Ryan Bourque, Danny Kristo, Nick Tarnasky
Defensemen: Conor Allen, Mat Bodie, Tommy Hughes, Petr Zamorky
Goalies: Jason Missiaen
There are 34 players in camp now:
Forwards (20): Derick Brassard, Anthony Duclair, Jesper Fast, Tanner Glass, Carl Hagelin, Ryan Haggerty, Kevin Hayes, Marek Hrivik, Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, Matthew Lombardi, Ryan Malone, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Chris Mueller, Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Lee Stempniak, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
Defensemen (10): Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer, Kevin Klein, Michael Kostka, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, John Moore, Marc Staal
Goaltenders (3): Henrik Lundqvist, Cedrick Desjardins, Cam Talbot
It’s worth nothing that both Bourques, and Tarnasky need to pass through waivers first. Cedrick Desjardins, who was not cut yet due to injury, will need to pass through waivers as well.
As expected for some time now, the Rangers have signed Ryan Malone to a one-year, two-way deal expected to be around $700,000, per Larry Brooks. This is a very low-risk signing, since the contract is two-way and will not have any cap implications should Malone need to be sent to the AHL. It also serves as competition for guys like Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Bourque, and Kevin Hayes.
As we found out last week, Anthony Duclair’s contract does not count towards the 50 contract limit if he is returned to the QMJHL (although it won’t slide and they will burn a year of it), thus the Rangers had room to add Malone.
Some quick notes on this Thursday morning:
- NHL.com released their top-60 prospects, and only one Ranger (Kevin Hayes) cracked the list at #49. That may seem a bit alarming, but it’s on par with what we’ve seen from other rankings. Although, it appears NHL.com’s list is heavy on who is closest to NHL ready, as top-end skill guys like Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich were noted as receiving votes. Brady Skjei also fell into that category.
- The Hartford Wolf Pack are rounding out their roster adding forward Vinny Saponari and defenseman Steve Spinell to AHL deals. Saponari spent the majority of last season with Cleveland in the AHL, putting up 15-18-33 in 58 games. Spinell spent last year primarily with the South Carolina in the ECHL after four years at Miami of Ohio, putting up 1-8-9 in 58 games. Both will be depth players, and do not count towards the 50 contract limit.